Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) virus has been detected in two batches of bird-biting mosquitoes collected from the town of Whiting on August 19. This is the first detection of EEE virus in southern Addison County this year, and the first detection of this virus in Vermont since it was found in mosquitoes from Grand Isle in the middle of June.
West Nile virus was detected for the first time this season in mosquito pools collected in St. Albans two weeks ago.
Both viruses are spread to humans and some animals through the bite of an infected mosquito. No human or animal cases have been reported to date in 2014.
“These detections confirm that both mosquito-borne viruses are circulating in Vermont again this year,” said Erica Berl, infectious disease epidemiologist for the Vermont Department of Health. “EEE can be a very serious disease and, although the risk of getting infected is low, it’s not zero. No matter where you live – enjoy the outdoors but take precautions to fight the bite.”
Take Action to Fight the Bite:
• Limit your time outside from dusk to dawn when mosquitoes are most active and biting. When you do go outside take precautions to prevent mosquito bites.
• Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants outside when mosquitoes are active.
• Use insect repellents that are labeled as being effective against mosquitoes. Effective ingredients are DEET, picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus. For more information about choosing a repellent, go to healthvermont.gov and search for ‘insect repellent’
• Cover baby carriages or outdoor play spaces with mosquito netting.
• Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.
• Reduce mosquito breeding habitats by getting rid of standing water and draining areas where water can pool, such as rain gutters, wading pools and old tires.
The Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets recommends that owners of West Nile virus and EEE-susceptible species, including horses, camelids (llamas and alpacas) talk with their veterinarians about vaccinating their animals. West Nile virus and EEE can cause severe neurologic disease (incoordination, seizures and inability to stand) in horses and camelids and can result in high mortality rates in those species. Emus are susceptible to EEE and can be vaccinated with the equine vaccine.
For extensive information about EEE and West Nile virus and mosquito pool and veterinary testing results visit: healthvermont.gov
Media Contact: Communication Office, Vermont Department of Health, 802-863-7281